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Free Ride

Soundtrack TBD up here. Not feeling anything in particular at the moment. Actually, in the spirit of “the only way to write is to just write”, I’m going to pass on the soundtrack entirely. I’ve already spent/wasted quite a few of my precious minutes on installing a vim emulator. I definitely have phases with vim - it’s everywhere, so sometimes I just get really into it and start figuring the whole thing out again. On the other hand, it has one job, and that job is to edit text. I know it can do that, but whyyyy does it have to do all these other things to? Oh well, down the vimtutor hole again.

This weekend was the first weekend I took my bike out and really just rode around. It was an exhilirating feeling that I definitely missed. Bikes are the perfect speed and acceleration for me. Faster than walking, but I don’t feel sketched out like I do driving in some cars. That’s likely just due to hating being in the city traffice all the time. Even though I only see it from the backseat of a bus/ride-share, it really is quite … off putting, I guess. I just don’t like it, I don’t know, I’m in search of better words here1. The other aspect is acceleration. My walking speed is pretty limited - there’s a very small window that’s comfortable to walk in. As a result, that rate must be maintained, so no changes. Biking, on the other hand, really lets get me fall down the hills and work my way back up them. Is a straightaway too fast? Drift on down effortlessly. Too slow? Usually pretty easy to get back up to the next speed.

I need to make a list of things that I want to see in SF, and then try and find bike routes to them. Currently I have a couple places selected, but they generally involving going over a small mountain or major hill. Not too appealing on the bike. This weekend I biked out to Golden Gate Park. The sun was shining on down, and I was contentedly reading a flower park. It was probably the first time in quite awhile that I felt like I really got California. Here it is, first week of February, and I’m out there in jeans and a tshirt lying down a green lawn. How can anyone ever go back to something as cold and brutal as MA or IL after that? I have no idea.

Since I was just biking around the city on a weekend, there wasn’t too much traffic. The bikelanes feel absolutely huge in that case, and I felt surprisingly safe. What took me so long to do this? Well, I got the bike, then I basically was out for a month between the holidays and getting sick. After that, for some bizarre reason, the light tricked me into thinking my back tire had a flat. I have no idea what was going on there, other than the fact I was convinced I had a flat. Queue a week waiting to get the Amazon tools I needed. Queue another week to find time to go buy a bike tire from the shop. Queue a week to find I didn’t actually need to replace the tire and it was fine all along. Ugh, take a week off, you’re so dumb. Super bowl time, there goes a weekend, oh well. No more excuses this weekend - we’re going. So glad I did. But where to next?

I’ve been feeling a little burned by tech recently. Working a lot of hours, then trying to learn a couple new languages on the side is making it pretty hard for me to focus on the interesting parts. Definitely getting a bit too close to that burnt out edge now - have to take it easy. Today was the definition of that - laundry, Netflix, little bit of cleanup. Lazy but not unproductive day. It’s not the kind of day you want to have if you’re worried about each day being your last. Instead, it’s the kind of day you’d want to have if you cared about the next week being your last =). So many little things knocked out of the way - it always surprises me how fast they add up. Individually none of them deserve more than a fraction of mental bandwidth, but together they really add up to a frustratingly large chunk.

Work has also taught me that those little things adding up have a secret, parasitic cost. My brain feels like a programming dictionary (type = Dict, not some boring reference manual). I need to allocate space for both the reminder to check in on a task [keys] and the work needed to perform that task [values]. Context switching is something that I thought I was quite good at, but now I’m not so sure. If I have 3 tasks, there’s 3 different ways I can accomplish:

  1. Option 1:
    • Finish Task A
    • Finish Task B
    • Finish Task C
  2. Option 2
    • Do half of Task A
    • Do a third of Task B
    • Do the other half of Task A
    • Do most of Task C
    • Finish Task B
    • Finish Task C

While they both integrate to the same total (sum(tasks) = 3), they don’t have the same number of steps. If I continue my lame analogy, I know need to allocate space for:

  • My original base [start pointer]
  • My current progess [curr pointer]
  • My goal [end pointer]

It’s really the current progress one that kills me. It feels like I’m doing a strict copy - duplicating every element in a list and storing it externally, then compressing it once it’s done. What’s the real cost of this, now that we are over with analogy land? It means that since I have these side projects and varying real projects at work - I’m even more inefficienct than I thought! Is this just a me thing, or is this true of everyone? On the other hand, I’m looking at a pretty small sample size here. They [coworkers] are a pretty well-biased sample group too. You kind of have to be good at this stuff to work at a startup. Now, see what I did there? I almost convinced myself again that I’m exaggerating the effects of this cost. Nope, not going to let it happen!

Cutting it short by 5min or so today. Wrote more words than I was expecting, so mission accomplished. Till next time!

  1. This is my first time writing one of these while high, I think. More rambling than you’d see on average is to be expeted. ↩︎